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Ex-wife hides two girls in closet

Deputies return children to father

Posted: December 8, 2008 9:03 p.m.
Updated: December 9, 2008 4:55 a.m.
 

Sheriff's deputies arrested a Valencia mom for investigation of child concealment, child endangerment and interfering with a law-enforcement investigation after they searched her home and found what they called poor living conditions, an official said Monday.

Carol Hershey, ex-wife of former Santa Clarita City Council candidate and sheriff's Lt. Mark Hershey, was taken into custody Sunday evening after she failed to comply with a court-ordered visitation by her ex-husband, said Lt. Tom Bryski. The couple's daughters, ages 12 and 13, were found hiding in a closet, Bryski said.

Mark Hershey is a lieutenant at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.

"This is a serious case of parental alienation," Mark Hershey said.

Deputies asked for access to Carol Hershey's home on Sunday, but she refused, Bryski said. She also refused to tell the deputies the whereabouts of the two girls and falsely identified herself as Kathy, Carol Hershey's sister, he said.

Deputies found the girls in a closet after a two-hour search of Carol Hershey's home in the 23000 block of Summerglen Place in Valencia, Bryski said.

Deputies described the living conditions at Carol Hershey's home as poor, Bryski said. Four of the five bedrooms in the home were rented out to a total of at least eight people, he said. Carol Hershey and her daughters lived in the master bedroom, which was buried in dirty clothes and piles of miscellaneous items, Bryski said.

Deputies returned the children to Mark Hershey.

Mark and Carol Hershey's child custody problems date back at least two years.

"She hates me," Mark Hershey said.

During Mark Hershey's 2006 unsuccessful bid for the Santa Clarita City Council, Carol Hershey obtained a restraining order against him, accusing him of sexual abuse. She accused Mark Hershey of making unwanted sexual advances, exposing himself to her, attempting to coerce her into sexually gratifying him and on one occasion forcing her to perform oral sex on him.

"It's all lies," Hershey said after the accusations were levied. "I haven't done any crimes."

The two have been separated since October 2002, with their divorce finalized in October 2003.

The restraining order prohibited Mark Hershey from coming within 100 yards of Carol Hershey, or attempting to contact her except for "brief and peaceful" contact related to visitation of their two daughters.

The restraining order was entered into a national database, and also required Hershey to surrender his firearms and any ammunition to his superiors.

Attached to the restraining order is a June 22 report filed with the Los Angeles Police Department, in which Carol Hershey told a detective that in addition to the Oct. 24 incident, Mark Hershey allegedly exposed himself to her on June 19 in the parking lot of the Superior Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles after a heated custody dispute.

"Those claims didn't go anywhere," Mark Hershey said.

A Los Angeles Family Court judge threw out the original restraining order and replaced it with a modified restraining order in August 2006, which allowed Mark Hershey to reclaim his weapons so his job would not be jeopardized.

Additionally, the revised order maintains Hershey's joint custody of his daughters with visitation rights.

The long ordeal is wearing on Hershey and his two daughters.

"I have two little kids that are hurt pretty bad and this is going on for two years," he said.

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